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Campaign trail: official size

Daily roundup of news from the campaign trail.



daily roundup of headlines made by the candidates, running mates and their surrogates on the campaign trail.

September 18

  • President congratulates national team (PSM)
  • My brother was in power when the national team last brought home the trophy: president (VFP)
  • With airport, I will make income reach MVR82 billion: president (Mihaaru)
  • I will raise income to MVR82 billion: president (Avas)
  • The airport that previous government couldn’t operate has become the region’s proudest: president (PSM)
  • The highest-standard runway in the region is now in the Maldives: president (VFP)
  • I will remain the captain, there’s nowhere we can’t reach: president (Mihaaru)
  • President Yameen’s manifesto released (Avas)
  • PPM manifesto: “Income and living up twofold” (Mihaaru)
  • PPM manifesto “Progress Shared” launched (PSM)
  • Believe that my wife and I are working sincerely: president (VFP)
  • Ibu is the person who holds the knife to cut the “coalition cake”: president (Avas)
  • Ibu is just the person holding the knife to cut the cake: president (Mihaaru)
  • We will buy water company’s majority stake: president (VFP)
  • I will reduce cost of electricity and water in second term: President Yameen (Avas)
  • I will reduce water and electricity cost to record levels: President Yameen (PSM)
  • Two is a bad number, one is one thought: president (Mihaaru)
  • We will be friends with nations who respect us: president (VFP)
  • MDP is a tree planted by imperial powers to destroy the Islamic unity of the Maldives: Shaheem (PSM)
  • Religious scholars will lose their religion mandate once they join MDP: Shaheem (VFP)
  • This is not Afghanistan to have four leaders at war: Shaheem (Mihaaru)
  • Those who call to keep foreign soldiers in Maldives cannot uphold sovereignty: defence minister (PSM)
  • On seeing supporters, Nihan prostrates with joy (Mihaaru)
  • Seeing PPM’s size, Nihan went down to prostrate! (Avas)

President Abdulla Yameen attended the opening of the new runway at the Velana International Airport. It was marked with the landing of an Etihad Airways A380 jetliner with the triumphant national football team.

With the airport expansion paving the way for exponential growth in tourist arrivals, he predicted state revenue would reach MVR82 billion (US$5.3 billion) a year, up from about MVR20 billion at present. The horizon is limitless under his captaincy, he said.

Yameen falsely claimed that the state was paid just MVR15 million in the first year the airport was managed by Indian developer GMR, whereas the Maldives Airport Company Ltd used to earn MVR200 million a year. According to a special audit, the government earned MVR1.3 billion from the airport in 2010, followed by MVR687 million in 2011, far higher than before privatisation.

GMR was paid US$271 million as compensation for the wrongful termination of the 25-year concession agreement.

On Tuesday night, Yameen released his re-election manifesto at a rally organised to show the “real size” of the ruling Progressive Party of the Maldives. The manifesto is a roadmap for doubling GDP per capita, he said.

In an impassioned speech, Yameen said he has delivered housing for all, jobs for youth, an MVR5,000 monthly allowance for the elderly, specialist doctors, and the means for workers to increase their income.

His administration has weathered storms without the captain jumping ship, Yameen said. “This ship moves swiftly. This ship can’t be stopped. This ship can travel on rough seas. But this ship’s engine needs oil. That is up to each one of you,” he told supporters.

Dismissing allegations of massive corruption as defamatory and unwarranted, Yameen accused former president Mohamed Nasheed of selling government shares in the water company and telecom giant at incommensurate prices. The Dhiraagu majority stake was divested to Cable & Wireless after a visit from a member of the British royal family, he alleged.

He slammed the opposition manifesto pledge of legislative approval for the four-party coalition agreement. Parliament is not a place for registering marriage and divorce, he said, reiterating criticism of power-sharing in an executive presidency.

Among the achievements of the past five years were providing sewerage services for 70 percent of the population and access to clean drinking water to half the population, he claimed, as well as developing VIA, completing 12 regional airports, building harbours on 130 islands, and ensuring public order and stability.

“I want each one of you to believe the truthfulness of my intentions. I have done a lot of work to deliver what Maldivians want.”

Yameen drew fire on social media with some of his remarks. A young man without the means to buy a phone for his girlfriend would “beg, borrow or steal,” he said.

The “mega rally” was planned after a massive turnout at an opposition rally in Malé. With supporters brought to the capital on chartered flights, the PPM said the turnout exceeded 20,000. The opposition, however, put the figure at about 8,000.

  • Ibu hears concerns of those who bought Gulhifalhu flats and didn’t get Tata flats (Raajje)
  • The anguish of people left homeless without flats shared with Ibu (Avas)
  • Ibu meets people fired for political reasons (Raajje)
  • Ibu meets IT professionals (Raajje)
  • Ibu meets people from the education sector (Raajje)
  • An audit of jails will be done in the first 100 days of the government: Ibu (Mihaaru)
  • I am concerned that people are dying in jails: Ibu (VFP)
  • I will ensure housing for all citizens before the end of the term: Ibu (Raajje)
  • Pay discrimination will be stopped by law: Ibu (Avas)
  • Benefits for people with special needs will be raised: Ibu (Raajje)
  • Ibu’s wife in a campaign activity for the first time (Avas)
  • We won’t use traffic stickers to raise income: Ibu (Raajje)
  • We will begin process of making a decision on minimum wage in first 100 days of government: Ibu (Raajje)
  • Proper procedures for bringing foreigners within the law will be established: Ibu (Raajje)
  • Women with niqab can go to work in coalition government (VFP)
  • We will develop a resort on Gaafaru lagoon: Faisal (Vnews)
  • The public is opposed to tyranny no matter what picture is shown: Aisha (Vnews)
  • We don’t want a second self, we will show the size of the people: Aisha (Vnews)
  • Iyaz to Shaheem: didn’t you lose religion mandate when you accepted state minister post [in MDP government]? (VFP)

After visiting all inhabited islands between himself and the running mate, joint opposition candidate Ibrahim Mohamed Solih ‘Ibu’ met with various groups in the capital.

On Tuesday night, he took part in a question and answer session organised by Raajje TV. Maldivian jails are unfit for humans, he declared, vowing to improve conditions in line with commitments under international conventions. He expressed concern over the numerous custodial deaths in recent years.

Ibu pledged to reform Aasandha to ensure that health insurance services are available without discrimination based on political affiliation. The coalition government would also provide subsidies for families unable to afford high rents and issue housing loans at a six percent interest rate and MVR5,000 monthly payment.

Among other pledges were pay hikes for civil servants, soft loans for students, and a mechanism to ensure resort workers are paid mandatory service charges.

“The people are ready for September 23. God willing, it will be the day work begins on bringing the change that the people are seeking.”